“Getting” jazz’s core rhythms.
National Standards: 1-3, 5-7, 9
Prepare: Have the class read Techniques: You Got Rhythm (page 26 of the student edition). The article provides examples of some common rhythms found in jazz.
Here’s a playlist of audio samples illustrating the examples from the article. Example 1 is not included as the “swing feel” it illustrates can be heard in examples 2-4.
Click here to download the files for audio playback in the Notion app.
Key points in the article:
- As a core rhythm to jazz, the swing feel can be written out in repeated eighth-note triplets, with each triplet containing a quarter note followed by an eighth note.
- The standard swing drumming pattern features a quarter note followed by two swung eighth notes played on the ride. It’s often accompanied by walking bass and block chords on the piano.
- Some other rhythms found in jazz include the Latin clave and bossa nova rhythms.
- Another jazz rhythm, funk is less swung but has a strong, syncopated groove.
Begin: Try some of the techniques with the class, noting the tips described in each example. Lessons might include:
- Playing examples 1-3 for the class on the piano and drums
- Having a group read the rhythms in example 5
- Playing the melodic parts in examples 4, 5, and 7 on the piano
Develop: Play the following video of the Count Basie Orchestra performing “One O’Clock Jump”:
How do the techniques in the music relate to the article?
- The drummer is playing a swing rhythm on the hi-hat
- The bassist is “walking”
- The band is playing swing rhythms, or in other words, they’re swinging!
Expand: Play the following video of Herbie Hancock performing “Chameleon” with his group in 1988:
Following along with example 7, have the class play or tap out the notated rhythms along with the music.